The Kerala Model

THE KERALA MODEL

BY ANDREW PEREIRA

 

It’s literally a tale of two tourism destinations – Goa and Kerala. Both share their coastlines with the Arabian
Sea and are tourist magnets. But, only Kerala is famous for doing everything to protect its environment and ecology as the bedrock of its tourism-based economy, Goa’s trajectory is seen as different.
“Keeping our environment pristine, and conservation is our number one priority. Our tourism is dependent on it. Environment is everything for us,” says Srinivasan K C, assistant tourist of Kerala Tourism, which is participating for the first time at the States Pavilion on the occasion of the 50th edition anniversary of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
“After the massive floods and destruction that Kerala suffered in 2018, the government has become very strict against encroachments in forests, mangroves, or on rivers and beaches. We are concentrating on conservation. There is no construction of concrete allowed in these areas. The floods were the biggest lesson for Kerala,” Srinivasan says.
He told The Peacock, “Kerala has 44 rivers and a rich biodiversity. We are starting the Malanad River Cruise Tourism project in the north of Kerala without disturbing the ecology. We are focusing on the Muziris heritage project, an ancient seaport which was rediscovered by archaeologists recently. It was the heart of the historic spice route. We are also focusing on the Nishigandha festival, which is the annual classical dance festival. So, we are concentrating on backwater tourism, ayurveda, contemporary art and architecture, heritage projects, culture and dances. We are stressing responsible tourism that focuses on rural homestays, rural cuisine,e and the rural way of life that includes agriculture, fields and coconut plantations.”
In 2018, Kerala hosted 15 million domestic tourists, including 1.1 million foreigners. “Our target is to increase domestic tourists by 50% and foreign tourists by 100% by 202,” Srinivasan says.
Every Goan knows the devastation caused by unconterolled mass tourism with garbage, waste management and traffic woes, so how does Kerala intend to manage all those footfalls? Srivasan told us, “we have put in place destination management systems partnering tourism and trade organizations, local self governments, educational institutions and NGOs. Garbage is tackled at the source itself through segregation of waste, littering is strictly fined. Kerala is a clean place. You won’t find garbage in public places or thrown into green areas.”

 

Illustration by Fabian Gonsalves. You can follow his work on instagram.com/fabskribbler

Read more from The Peacock: Issue 8 (2019) here: